20 Mar 2014 : Column WA47

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA47

Written Answers

Thursday 20 March 2014

Armed Forces: Officers

Questions

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many officers there are in the Royal Navy for each of the following ranks: (1) Admiral of the Fleet, (2) Admiral, (3) Vice Admiral, (4) Rear Admiral, (5) Commodore, and (6) Captain; how many in each rank are female; and how many in each rank were educated privately.[HL5792]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): As of 1 January 2014, the official Defence statistics on male and female officers in the Naval Service are provided in the following table. Information on education is not available as it is not routinely recorded.

RankFemaleMale

Admiral of the Fleet

0

0

Admiral

0

1

Vice Admiral

0

9

Rear Admiral

0

29

Commodore

0

75

Captain

5

260

1. Comprises trained and untrained personnel and excludes Full Time Reserve Service personnel and mobilised reservists.

2. Comprises the Royal Navy (including the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service) and the Royal Marines combined.

3. Rounding has been used for male Captains. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. For female Captains the actual figure is shown.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many officers there are in the Army for each of the following ranks: (1) Field Marshal, (2) General, (3) Lieutenant General, (4) Major General, (5) Brigadier, and (6) Colonel; how many in each rank are female; and how many in each rank were educated privately.[HL5793]

Lord Astor of Hever: As of 1 January 2014, the official Defence Statistics for male and female officers in the Army are provided in the following table. Information on education is not available as it is not routinely recorded.

RankFemaleMale

Field Marshal

0

0

General

0

5

Lieutenant General

0

11

Major General

0

42

Brigadier

2

158

Colonel

25

495

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA48

Notes

:

1. Percentages are calculated from unrounded data.

2. Regular Forces comprises trained and untrained personnel and excludes Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service personnel and mobilised reservists.

3. Rounding has been used for Colonels. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many officers there are in the Royal Air Force for each of the following ranks: (1) Marshal of the Royal Air Force, (2) Air Chief Marshal, (3) Air Marshal, (4) Air Vice -Marshal, (5) Air Commodore, and (6) Group Captain; how many in each rank are female; and how many in each rank were educated privately.[HL5794]

Lord Astor of Hever: As of 1 January 2014, the official Defence Statistics for male and female officers in the Royal Air Force are provided in the following table. The RAF has promoted a second female to Air Vice Marshal (2 star) level since 1 January.

Information on education is not available as it is not routinely recorded.

RankFemaleMale

Marshal of the Royal Air Force

0

0

Air Chief Marshal

0

3

Air Marshal

0

8

Air Vice-Marshal

1

24

Air Commodore

4

72

Group Captain*

20

290

* Rounding has been used for Group Captains. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Businesses: Prompt Payment

Questions

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their proposed timescale for responding to their consultation Building a Responsible Payment Culture.[HL5895]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): We are currently analysing responses to the Government’s consultation on building a more responsible payment culture and will respond shortly.

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are considering to ensure that the Prompt Payment Code is effectively adhered to.[HL5896]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: We published a discussion paper on building a more responsible payment culture on 7 December 2013 which asked for views on strengthening the Prompt Payment Code, including whether more businesses could be encouraged to identify breaches of

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA49

the Code by signatories. We are currently analysing responses to the consultation and will announce our next steps shortly.

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage an early-payment culture in business and commerce, where incentives are offered in return for invoices being paid in advance of payment terms.[HL5897]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Government is determined to build a responsible payment culture in the UK in which suppliers are treated fairly and paid on time. In addition to encouraging prompt payment, the Government is encouraging larger companies to put in place schemes like supply chain finance that can give smaller firms greater access to affordable working capital.

Civil Servants: Classified Documents

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the civil servant who exposed to media view in Downing Street the classified briefing on their policy towards Ukraine has been disciplined; whether the official in question has access to classified documents; and what steps they plan to take to prevent further similar breaches of security.[HL5848]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): In line with the practice of successive Governments we do not normally disclose information on disciplinary issues relating to individual civil servants.

Consumer Rights Bill

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to extend the Consumer Rights Bill to cover smaller businesses, as recommended by the Federation of Small Businesses in its report published on 12 March.[HL6014]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Government welcomes the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) report on “Small Businesses as Consumers”. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has accepted the report’s recommendation that, when developing consumer law, consideration should be given to extending consumer protections to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs.)

In the case of the Consumer Rights Bill, the Government considered the case for small businesses to be treated as consumers, consulting on this question in 2008 and 2012. In the 2008 Consumer Law Review, the Government asked whether the definition of consumer should be extended to include small or micro-businesses and, in response, business groups were opposed to that suggestion. In 2012 the Government proposed the definition of “consumer” used in the Consumer Rights

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA50

Bill and received broad support for it. In evidence to the Consumer Rights Bill Committee in the House of Commons in February 2014, the British Retail Consortium raised concerns about including SMEs within the definition of consumer.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB’s) report does not recommend defining small businesses as consumers for the purpose of the Consumer Rights Bill and, given the results of our consultations, the Government agrees with that stance. We are however implementing a wide range of initiatives to address the barriers to, and provide opportunities for, small business growth as set out in our 2013 publication “Small Business GREAT Ambition”.

Education: National Curriculum

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what regard they have given to pupil reflection in the new national curriculum.[HL5826]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The new national curriculum, to be taught from September 2014, reflects a body of essential knowledge and core concepts in key subjects. The Government does not believe that it is appropriate for the national curriculum to set out how teachers should teach, or how they should structure their school day. The national curriculum has been slimmed down to allow teachers more flexibility to use their professionalism and expertise to create lessons that really inspire and engage their pupils, and help them to develop deeper knowledge and understanding of materials.

Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, Jane Ellison, on 8 January (HC Deb, cols 267–8), whether the published evidence regarding differences between human and macaque eggs and early embryos reveals that macaque eggs are more sensitive than their human counterparts to proposed manipulations for replacing mitochondria; if not, how the data indicating that macaque zygotes do not survive the pronuclear transfer process well suggest that human zygotes might fare any better; when the further advice from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Expert Panel about the safety and efficacy of those techniques will be publicly available; and what consideration they have given to discussion of the safety of undertaking such techniques in humans by international regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.[HL5834]

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA51

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that its Expert Panel considered the issue to which the noble Lord refers and reached the view of the appropriateness of models using macaque eggs on the basis of published research, as referenced in its report of March 2013 that can be found on the HFEA’s website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/6372.html

Additional information about survival rates was set out in the Written Answer provided by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health to the hon. Member for Enfield Southgate, David Burrowes, on 8 January 2014 (Official Report, cols. 267-8W). The Department has asked the HFEA to reconvene the Expert Panel to review its advice about the safety and efficacy of pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer and to provide the Department with a report by end of May. This will be published on the HFEA's website in due course.

The HFEA has also advised that it is in contact with the Food and Drug Administration in the United States about this issue.

EU: UK Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the United Kingdom’s status in exit negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in the event of a referendum vote to leave the European Union; what areas any such negotiations would cover; and whether they would cover the United Kingdom’s continuing access to European Union trade agreements with third parties.[HL5950]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): No such assessment has been made. This Government believes it is in the UK’s best interest to be a member of a reformed EU that is more competitive, flexible and democratically accountable. The Government will continue to make that case vigorously as we progress with our reform proposals.

Food: Bananas

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote competition in the trade in bananas.[HL5932]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Government considers that the trade in bananas is currently working well with competition in the market resulting in better outcomes for UK consumers.

The Government is aware of concerns raised by the Fairtrade Foundation about the impact of this competition on banana producers overseas. The UK Government is a committed Fairtrade partner and is providing

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA52

£18 million over six years to help Fairtrade International have a greater impact in their work and make the global Fairtrade system stronger.

If there is evidence that anti-competitive practices in the banana market are having a negative impact on UK consumers or on the supply chain, this should be reported to the Office of Fair Trading (or the Competition and Markets Authority from 1 April) for consideration.

Former Prime Ministers: Public Duty Cost Allowances

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which former Prime Ministers have been given public duty cost allowances; how much those allowances were; and which specific and itemised duties they performed.[HL5827]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The amounts paid in 2011-12 and 2012-13 are as follows:

2011/12

Gordon Brown

£114,998.17

Baroness Thatcher

£109,191.00

John Major

£115,000.00

Tony Blair

£115,000.00

2012/13

John Major

£114,996.00

Gordon Brown

£100,315.68

Baroness Thatcher

£74,087.76

Tony Blair

£115,000.00

The current limit for the PDCA is £115,000. The limit is reviewed on an annual basis.

Former Prime Ministers will continue to receive the PDCA if they are a sitting MP, provided they are not serving as Leader of the Opposition.

Claims are processed by the Cabinet Office and form part of the annual audit of Cabinet Office expenditure.

All former Prime Ministers are provided with guidance on the PDCA. A copy of this has been placed in the Library of the House.

Genetic Modification

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 6 February (WA 76–7) and 4 March (WA 304), whether they are opposed to genetic modification of humans wherever this involves the germ-line modification of nuclear DNA, in the chromosomes, that can be passed on to future generations.[HL5864]

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA53

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): I have nothing further to add to the Written Answer I gave the noble Lord on 6 February 2014 (Official Report, columns WA76-77).

Government Departments: Surveys

Question

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what customer, user and satisfaction surveys were conducted in the last 12 months in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the agencies that report to it; which of them have been reported to the management board in the last 12 months; and which were commissioned by the management board.[HL5909]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Department and its agencies continually seek feedback from their customers and users. An online list, available here,

http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/OLGSS/OLGSS_interactive.html,

sets out details of key formal surveys of customers and users.

In addition, the Department has recently carried out the following significant surveys of user and customer satisfaction: Business Support Review: Small Businesses Stakeholder Survey; Small to Medium Enterprise Barometer Survey; Better Enforcement Programme Baseline Survey and Regulatory Enforcement Business Survey.

The Department’s Executive Board does not itself routinely commission surveys on specific policy areas but frequently looks at a range of management information on its priorities, which, where appropriate, include an assessment of stakeholder feedback.

I have asked the chief executives of the executive agencies to respond directly to the noble Lord and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

Health: Hypercholesterolaemia

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the treatment of people with diagnosed Homozydous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia in England will be included in prescribed specialised commissioning funded by the National Health Service; and, if so, on what date the prescribed specialised arrangement will commence.[HL6080]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Services for people with homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia will be directly commissioned by NHS England under the prescribed specialised service arrangements from 1 April 2015.

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA54

India: Golden Temple, Amritsar

Question

Asked by Lord Singh of Wimbledon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will support a United Nations-led inquiry into recent revelations of human rights abuses against Sikhs, along the lines of that recently announced in respect of Sri Lanka.[HL6013]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to my answer of 10 March 2014 to the noble Lord Ahmed, Official Report, Column WA352.

Iran

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iran regarding that country’s human rights record.[HL6021]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK’s non-resident Chargé d’Affaires discussed human rights with a range of Iranian government officials during his most recent visit to Iran on 12 March 2014. He raised the use of the death penalty, freedom of religion and the workings of the criminal justice system. Prior to that, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised Iran’s human rights records with Iranian foreign minister Zarif at the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2013.

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the death of the Jordanian magistrate, Mr Raed Zeiter, killed on 10 March near the Allenby Bridge.[HL5931]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli Defence Force on 11 March 2014.

Lockerbie

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they are giving to the claim by Iranian defector Abolghassem Mesbahi that the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 air disaster emanated from Iranian planning and sanctioning, and that previously accepted

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA55

Libyan responsibility was incorrect; and whether, in their renewed diplomatic arrangements, they have discussed the matter with the government of Iran.[HL5968]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government is aware of these claims reported in the media. I would like to refer the noble Lord to the Crown Office statement of 11 March in response to these claims:

“There is nothing new in these claims and some of the accounts of the evidence reported in the Daily Telegraph are inaccurate. Mesbahi's claim that Iran was responsible was first reported in the media in the late 1990s and was available to the defence before the trial but they did not call him as a witness. The wider alleged involvement of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC) has been repeatedly reported over many years but was addressed in full and rejected at the original trial”.

“The only appropriate forum for the determination of guilt or innocence is the criminal court, and Mr Megrahi was convicted unanimously by three senior judges. His conviction was upheld unanimously by five judges, in an Appeal Court presided over by the Lord Justice General, Scotland’s most senior judge. As the investigation remains live, it would not be appropriate to offer further comment.”

The Police Scotland investigation into the involvement of others who may have acted with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in planning and carrying out the Lockerbie bombing remains open.

As the investigation remains live, it would not be appropriate for the Government to comment further on these claims.

NHS: Bullying

Question

Asked by Lord Teverson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to address the finding by Madeline Carter and others published in the BMJ Open that workplace bullying is a significant but under-reported problem in the National Health Service.[HL6023]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government is committed to continuously improving the reporting of workplace bullying in the National Health Service, in particular through the NHS Staff Survey which is managed by NHS England. The Survey, which is recognised as an important way of ensuring NHS staff views input to local and national assessments of quality, safety, and delivery of the NHS Constitution, records the percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from staff over the previous 12 months. Results are available at individual trust level so they know how they compare against their peers and can assess where further work is required.

The NHS Constitution includes staff rights set out in legislation as well as pledges that the NHS makes to staff. These rights and pledges provide a framework in

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA56

which all employers are expected to operate. One of the rights set out in the NHS Constitution is that staff are entitled to “an environment free from harassment, bullying or violence”.

NHS: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Teverson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action is being taken to ensure that staff in the National Health Service are treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and supported in their roles.[HL6024]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The commitment to ensure National Health Service staff are treated with dignity and respect, is enshrined in the NHS Constitution, which sets out the principles and values underpinning the NHS and rights, pledges and responsibilities for patients, the public and staff. All bodies supplying NHS services are legally required to take account of the NHS Constitution in their decisions and actions.

Specifically, the NHS Constitution includes a right for staff to be treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination, and pledges to:

- provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities;- provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate education and training for their jobs and line management support to enable them to fulfil their potential;- provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, wellbeing and safety; and- engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide, individually, through representative organisations and through local partnership working arrangements.

Progress against these pledges is measured via the NHS Staff Survey. The most recent NHS Staff Survey (2013) showed progress in most areas including:

- Levels of staff engagement and involvement up to 3.74/5 from 3.68;- Eight out of ten staff believe their role makes a difference for patients;- 54% satisfied with the recognition they get for their work, up from 49%;- 67% of staff feeling supported by line managers, up from 66%; and- Most staff felt supported to gain training to deliver better care and reported fair treatment by their employer.

The Department commissions NHS Employers to support and promote good employment practice in areas such as Health and Well Being, ensuring equal treatment at work and fostering staff engagement. For example, NHS Employers and NHS England are currently supporting Compassion into Practice week to promote dignity and respect for nurses, midwives and their patients.

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA57

Non-departmental Government Bodies: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Met Office in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5856]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): During 2013, the Met Office recruited 181 employees to deliver essential services for government and commercial customers. Due to the complex nature of the Met Office’s work, many of the people it recruits are qualified at degree level or beyond, predominantly in scientific subjects such as mathematics, physical sciences and meteorology. Of those recruited in 2013, 79 were to roles mandated at graduate level or beyond. In addition, 11others have recorded a qualification at degree level or beyond on the Met Office’s internal database.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Office of Fair Trading in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5901]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Over the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, the Office of Fair Trading made a total of 73 permanent and fixed term appointments.

51 of the individuals appointed are graduates.

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports concerning the export of North Korean natural resources and “blood minerals”, including gold, produced by forced labour from political prison camps, reaching London and other European markets; and whether there is a European Union prohibition on investment in North Korea’s mining sector.[HL6006]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are deeply concerned at reports of the use of political prisoners as forced labour in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). While trade in gold, diamonds and precious metals from the DPRK is banned under existing EU sanctions aimed at preventing the further development of the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, there is no general prohibition on the import of minerals and other natural resources from the DPRK, or on investment in the DPRK’s mining sector.

I am grateful to the noble Lord for the information he has provided regarding imports of magnesite from the DPRK into the EU by a Swiss company in 2009. As the noble Lord knows, information in the DPRK

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA58

can be hard to verify. However, officials have looked at the map showing the location of the magnesite mines and plants and compared them with the locations of political prison camps as identified in a 2012 publication by the US non-governmental organisation, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. The mines do not appear to be in any of the areas where there are known to be prison camps. Officials are also investigating whether there are links between the DPRK company involved and individuals or organisations listed under EU or UN sanctions such that a breach of EU or UN sanctions might be being committed.

We are unaware of any imports of DPRK minerals into the UK or of any British companies being involved in the DPRK mining sector. If presented with information suggesting products of political prison camps were being imported into the UK, we would of course investigate and consider what action we could take to prevent this.

Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with relevant parties regarding the viability of the Palestinian economy under the current circumstances in the region.[HL5998]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We continue to engage regularly with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Office of the Quartet Representative, and European and other partners on the Palestinian economy. The Government agrees with the World Bank analysis that movement and access restrictions constitute the single biggest obstacle to the viability of trade and economic development and that Area C is key to the future of the West Bank economy. We continue to ask the Israeli government to ease its restrictions and to allow development of Palestinian communities in Area C. The UK stands ready to support the Initiative for the Palestinian Economy and has launched two Department for International Development programmes to support Palestinian economic development: a £12.5m Palestinian Market Development Programme to support small businesses in the West Bank and Gaza, and a £6.2 million programme to support development of rural Palestinian communities in Area C.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask the Leader of the House what steps he has taken to ensure that Ministers make sure, before signing replies to Questions for Written Answer, that the replies answer the questions which have been put.[HL5937]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): It is the responsibility of individual ministers to decide what answers they give to Questions for Written Answer (QWAs), and they are of course

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA59

accountable to the House for those answers. The importance of this direct accountability is such that I recently decided, following the introduction of a new system for answering QWAs electronically, to require Ministers in this House to continue providing personally signed answers to noble Lords. The Ministerial Code states that “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament”.

Schools: First Languages

Questions

Asked by Lord Tebbit

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in how many schools in England is English not the first language of a majority of pupils.[HL5938]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Information on the number and proportion of pupils whose first language is other than English is published as part of the Department for Education’s annual statistical release “Schools, pupils and their characteristics”. The latest release of this publication is for January 2013 and is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2013

The underlying data (school level schools pupils) contains information for individual schools, including the proportion of pupils whose first language is other than English.

Asked by Lord Tebbit

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total yearly extra cost to schools of educating children whose first language is not English.[HL5939]

Lord Nash: We do not collect this data centrally. It is for individual schools to decide how much extra they choose to spend on educating pupils whose first language is not English.

Through their local funding formulas, local authorities may allocate funding to schools on the basis of the number of pupils in the school who speak English as an additional language and entered the state school system in the past three years. Local authorities allocated £233 million in this way in 2013-14. The funding is not ring-fenced within a school’s budget so this figure may not be a reliable indicator of actual spending.

Ukraine

Questions

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they took to satisfy themselves that the removal from office of President Yanukovych was carried out in accordance with Article 111 of the Ukranian Constitution.[HL5892]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) is elected to represent the Ukrainian people. Those people have spoken for a better, more prosperous future, free from corruption. Clearly, former President Yanukovych lost the confidence of the Rada and Ukrainian people.

20 Mar 2014 : Column WA60

Mr Yanukovych abandoned his office and the country before fulfilling his commitments under the 21 February agreement. The former-President’s departure meant that parliament had to act. The 21 February agreement provided for a return to the 2004 Constitution. On 22 February the Rada voted to restore the 2004 constitution and to impeach the former President. The interim government, which was approved by an overwhelming majority in a free vote in the Rada, including representatives of Mr Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, has: restored the 2004 Constitution; begun the process of constitutional reform; and scheduled Presidential elections.

We welcome the swift steps to appoint a new government of national unity which can rule Ukraine until Presidential elections in May.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will seek to ensure that any contact group set up in relation to Ukraine and Crimea will be able to act independently and free from any veto by participatory nations.[HL5933]

Baroness Warsi: A stable Ukraine is best secured through diplomacy, engagement and contact. As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has told Parliament, the Government is willing to pursue any diplomatic avenue that could help to reduce tensions—including through a contact group. We have urged Russia to attend talks and consultations, and to begin contact with the Ukrainian government.

We will persist in our efforts to find a framework for the Russians and Ukrainians to talk. The composition and terms of any contact group would need to be agreed by the participants, including on the use of a veto by participating states. In order to succeed they would need to find a way of addressing the key issues of concern.

Women: Board Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to help promote the case for women in the boardroom.[HL6007]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Government has been implementing Lord Davies’ voluntary business-led strategy to increase the number of women in UK boardrooms.

The Corporate Governance Code now requires boards to report on their diversity policy. Executive search firms have pledged to ensure that women make up 30% of long-lists, and as of October 2013, quoted companies are required to disclose their gender balance at various levels.

Women now account for 20.4% of board members in FTSE100 companies (figures from January 2014), up from 12.5% in February 2011.